[elmira-ny.com] - Keeping memories alive...photo courtesy of Tom Drum...

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  - Mary Evans -

I remember my parents waking me up (not sure of the time) to tell me we had to leave. The people across the street (The Marshalls) and my family were going to go to a friend's old apartment near St. Patrick's Church and weather the flood there. But first Dad and Mr. Marshall wanted to help the elderly couple (The Silvermans) get out and to safety. By the time the neighbors were all set the water was half way up the tires of our cars.

We went to the friend's apartment (We had to put my cat in a picnic basket, we couldn't find the cat carrier) Once we got to the apartment we found out that Mrs. Marshall hated cats so my kitty had to stay in a closet... (he wasn't a happy camper about this and neither was I (I was not quite 7 at the time). The next morning I woke up and looked out the bathroom window and asked my mom what that black stuff was in the Sear's parking lot... It was the river....

We piled everyone back into the cars (we had to leave kitty behind but the people downstairs said they would take him so he moved to Pittsburgh). I cried for literally days for my kitty.

We tried to go to the EFA gym but it was full. A nice family diagonally up the road from EFA took us in for a couple days. About then my Aunt and Uncle came and got me and I spent the rest of the summer on Long Island. It took me a few weeks to stop asking them where the flood waters were in their neighborhood. With them so close to the water (they lived right on Long Island Sound) I just couldn't imagine them not getting water too.

Friends of my parents lived on W.Grey Street and they were planning on retiring to Florida. My folks bought everything that they didn't want to take to Florida and we lived in their house (near Roe) for almost a year.

After the flood hit, my folks sent me to Long Island to stay with my Aunt and Uncle. But I remember my mom telling me things. The thing that I remember the most was.......

They allowed SOME prisoners from "The Hill" (Elmira Prison) to help dig out families. We lived rather close to the river (bottom of York Ave in West Elmira only 3 houses from the river) and mom said we had a group of prisoners come help muck out the mud from the basement. Here my mom is in hip boots taking buckets of mud from her back basement window from one of the prisoners. He looked up at her and said. "Ma'am you still have a very nice house." My mom turned the bucket over right there sat on it and bawled.

Not sure why we got prisoners to come help up. My mom figured it was maybe because her Dad had worked at the prison (in the education dept.) for years. until he passed away.